In its second season, HBO’s The Leftovers reinvented itself. While the first season, noteworthy for its unrelenting grimness and incredible sense of dread, made for gripping and divisive television, the second season did something remarkable: it became fun. And more importantly, it became fun without sacrificing that uncomfortable tone and those complicated characters and the overwhelming sense that nothing is okay and it never well be okay and everyone is going to die.
So when I watch the new trailer for the show’s third and final season, I find myself filled with equal amounts of dread and giddiness – we’re all going to have a great time feeling really bad.
Like the first season 3 teaser, this trailer is heavy on suffocating atmosphere and light on plot, promising that the Garvey clan’s journey to Australia will be fraught with spiritual mayhem and apocalyptic imagery. Season 2 featured Justin Theroux‘s Kevin Garvey literally escaping the afterlife after being murdered, so the grand finale is going to have to find a way to top that special kind of insanity.
While it’s hard to make too much sense of what’s going on amidst that imagery, one thing is very clear: both Theroux and Carrie Coon will have plenty of opportunities to put on their despair faces. And no one on television wears despair faces quite like those two.
The big question is whether or not The Leftovers season 3 will choose to fully address the various impossible events that have cropped up over the past two years, or do as the theme song suggests and “let the mystery be.” After all, this has always been a show that has been less about understanding the world and more about understanding that you will never understand the world.
In any case, series showrunner Damon Lindelof has been giving a lot of thought about how they’ll end the show:
The big thing we gotta figure out for season three is: Where are we going to end it? What’s the last episode of this series going to be? We’ll design the entire season basically building up to that moment. I think there was a very purposeful circularity between seasons one and two, with the ‘wherever you go, there you are’ theme of it all. We decided to end the second season very similar to the first season. The Garveys felt like they could pickup and go to this place the Departure didn’t happen, but lo and behold, the same exact thing happened. The only safe place is the place you’re surrounded by the people you love. We can’t do that again, and not just because the audience is expecting it, but because we were telling a story about geography in season two, while season three is going to be something else entirely.
The end begins for The Leftovers on April 16, 2017.
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